20: What's the Time, Mr. Fox?

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"What you must understand about me is that I'm a deeply unhappy person."

John Green, Looking for Alaska

20: What's the Time, Mr. Fox?

Time passed in a mixture of fast and slow moments the next morning.

At six thirty in the morning, it passed instantaneously, when Damien and I had to sneak him out of Ales and my room in the girls' dorm to take him back to his dorm. When we reached, time almost froze when Caius and Damien saw each other again – they didn't say a word except acknowledge each other with a stoic nod. Damien rushed to the bathroom to shower and change whereas Caius fixed his bed, not saying a word to me.

"Caius," I exhaled, as soon as I heard Damien's bathroom tap begin to run.

"I don't wanna talk about it right now, Dixie," he said coldly.

"What happened to the whole, I'm your best friend too thing?" I scoffed in disbelief. "You fought with Damien, not with me."

"Dixie, I'm about to be called in for the worst meeting of my life. If I get expelled from this school, I have ruined my future, my family, everything," he snapped. "Take the hint. I don't need you fucking prying into my drinking and why I never told you and why Damien and I fought," he finished before turning to his mirror and attempting to tie his tie.

I'd never seen Caius this way before – hundreds of thoughts were running through my head, but instead I tried to focus on the situation in front of me. I eyed Caius' horrible dark circles, his greasy combed back hair and chapped lips; I remembered first meeting him and thinking he was the most handsome and charming boy I'd ever met, with his cool composure and charming personality. He made me think he was invincible.

But in this second, he didn't look like anything but a terrified and miserable boy. He was breaking out, sweaty, shaking and at this very second, he was struggling with his tie.

"You're not going to ask for my help with your tie so I'm not going to offer it. I'm just going to do it."

When I walked to him and began fixing his tie, he didn't protest. I cautiously straightened out the two ends, wrapping them over one another, focusing on tying the knot. He stayed silent and chewed the inside of his cheek nervously. All I wanted to do was try and understand. I wanted to understand how it was that both him and Damien were in so much pain and suffering while I had no idea. I felt like I'd disappointed both of them, as a sister and as a friend but most of all, I'd disappointed myself.

"I'm fucking scared, Dixie," he quietly whispered after moments of our silence.

"Whatever happens, I'm right here for you. Always have been," I said, patting down his blazer and picking the dust off of it. "You're my best friend and you're like my brother. Both mine and Damien's."

"Okay," he said, taking a deep inhale and began walking towards the door.

"Good luck," I told him and he shut the room door as Damien opened his bathroom door, with wet hair, a towel wrapped around him and bleeding shaving cuts on his face.

"Help me. I have ten minutes to make myself presentable and be at the Head's office," he frantically said.

"Wipe the blood off your face, and get some clothes on," I quickly told him. "I'll iron the blazer then blow-dry your hair."

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